Drink of the Week: Winter Smash at Pesce

Lou Bustamante
At the newly transplanted Pesce, the cocktail menu does something unique: five different themes get translated into two drinks per theme, one light on the alcohol and another with a little more kick. The drinks aren't the same cocktail with more or less liquor, but rather each drink a completely different iteration on the concept.

I'm a sucker for citrus, and the Citrus Season pair has the awesome Winter Smash ($10, George Dickel Rye Whiskey, maple, lemon, blood orange, mint). The tart mix of lemon and orange kicks up the rye spice and oaky vanilla flavors in the whiskey and makes it wonderfully drinkable. The crimson color may fool you into thinking you there's vermouth in there, but instead of infused wine, you'll find cooling mint and woody maple sweetness.

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Lou Bustamante
The Farewell To Arms cocktail
Its companion drink is the more aperitif style A Farewell to Arms ($10, Aperol, rhum agricole, lime, grapefruit, maraschino) that has the bitterness of the Aperol accenting the bitterness of the grapefruit. The agricole rum gives it a vegetal layer that never gets too funky, instead lending some grassy sweetness.

Its not unusual to see a variation of a cocktail on a bar menu. By taking a classic cocktail and adding a little tweak or flair, you can get a whole different drink. In the "Gin is In!" section, a classic Vesper recipe gets inverted, making the Cocchi Americano main focus instead of the gin and vodka, to make a Vespa. It's pair, the Ducati ($11, Plymouth Gin, honey, lemon, fennel, apple, flamed absinthe) gets more horsepower out of the same botanicals and higher octane fuel.

Peel out and pop a wheelie over to Pesce.

Pesce, 2223 Market (at Sanchez), 928-8025

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